Spurs Rumors

Spurs Name Landry Fields GM Of NBAGL Affiliate

The Spurs have announced a series of changes to their coaching staff and basketball operations staff, issuing a press release to confirm the moves. Most notably, former NBA swingman Landry Fields, who joined the franchise as a scout in 2016, has been promoted to general manager of the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s G League affiliate.

Fields, a member of the NBA’s 2010/11 All-Rookie squad, is still just 31 years old, having played his last game in the NBA as a 26-year-old in 2014/15. The former Knick and Raptor has spent the last three years as a college scout for San Antonio and will now have the opportunity to take on a greater role within the organization. He’ll be joined by Tyler Self, Austin’s new assistant GM.

Dave Telep (director of player personnel), Phil Cullen (director of basketball operations and innovation), and Adam Glessner (senior director of basketball intelligence) are among the Spurs’ other basketball operations executives who have earned new titles.

On the coaching side, Mitch Johnson has been promoted to an assistant coach role, while former NBA big man Darius Songaila has been named a player development assistant. They’ll join Gregg Popovich‘s new-look staff, which no longer features veteran assistants Ime Udoka and Ettore Messina.

NBA Teams With Most, Fewest Guaranteed Salaries

At this point in the offseason, the majority of the NBA’s teams are carrying either 13 or 14 players on guaranteed salaries. Teams will have to pare down their rosters to no more than 15 players on standard contracts once the regular season begins, so having 13 or 14 players on guaranteed deals now gives those clubs the flexibility to allow one or two non-guaranteed players to make the team — or to carry an open roster spot into opening night.

However, there are currently a dozen teams around the league carrying fewer than 13 guaranteed salaries or more than 14. With the help of our roster counts tool, here’s a look at those teams, with details on what they might be thinking as the 2019/20 season nears:

Fewer than 13 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Houston Rockets (10)
  • Miami Heat (12)
  • Toronto Raptors (12)
  • Utah Jazz (12)

With only 10 players on fully guaranteed salaries, the Rockets may have some competition for their final few roster spots in training camp. For now Isaiah Hartenstein and Gary Clark – each of whom have partial guarantees – look like good bets to earn spots, with Ben McLemore perhaps the frontrunner for the 13th spot. Anthony Bennett, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier, William McDowell-White, and Shamorie Ponds are candidates to fill out the roster, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Houston eventually acquires a veteran or two with its open spots.

[RELATED: 2019/20 Non-Guaranteed Contracts By Team]

Duncan Robinson‘s and Kendrick Nunn‘s partial guarantees put them in good position to earn the Heat‘s 13th and 14th roster spots. The hard-capped club won’t have room for a 15th player to start the season.

Royce O’Neale is a lock to make the Jazz, and Georges Niang seems like a safe bet too. William Howard and Stanton Kidd could be the prime contenders for the 15th spot if Utah wants a full roster.

For the Raptors, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez, veteran point guard Cameron Payne, and returning role players Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller are the top candidates for the final two or three openings on the regular season roster.

More than 14 fully guaranteed salaries:

  • Brooklyn Nets (15)
  • Dallas Mavericks (15)
  • Indiana Pacers (15)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (15)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (15)
  • New York Knicks (15)
  • Phoenix Suns (15)
  • San Antonio Spurs (15)

The Grizzlies were the only team carrying more than 15 guaranteed salaries, but a buyout agreement with Dwight Howard changed that. If they reach a similar deal – or find a trade – involving Andre Iguodala, their roster count would dip to 14 fully guaranteed contracts.

The Nets, Mavericks, Pacers, Timberwolves, Knicks, Suns, and Spurs could shake things up with roster moves before the season begins, particularly if any of those teams is impressed by a non-guaranteed camp invitee. But for now, their regular season rosters look pretty set with their 15 players on guaranteed salaries.

Spurs Sign Jeff Ledbetter To Exhibit 10 Deal

Approximately three weeks after originally offering him a contract, the Spurs have signed guard Jeff Ledbetter to an Exhibit 10 deal, reports Nicola Lupo of Sportando.

Ledbetter, 31, is an Idaho product primarily known for his marksmanship from long range. He has spent the last three seasons with the Spurs’ G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, but did leave the team early last season to play in Mexico.

In 101 career NBAGL games, Ledbetter has posted a respectable stat line of 11.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 3.2 APG. He figures to become an affiliate player in Austin for the fourth straight season.

With Ledbetter under contract, the Spurs now have 20 players on their offseason roster, including two-way players Drew Eubanks and Quinndary Weatherspoon.

Eastern Notes: Ntilikina, IT, Flourney, Washburn

Frank Ntilikina, who is playing for the French National Team in the FIBA World Cup, is beginning to showcase his potential, Marc Berman of the New York Post contends. The 6’6″ guard has risen up during international play, earning the starting point guard role for his country. He’s also caught the eye of his teammates.

“He’s a very, very talented player and an excellent defender, and I see a bright future ahead for him,” said Rudy Gobert, who is also playing for France in the tournament.

The Knicks selected Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick back in 2017 draft and he’s rumored to be on the trade market. Perhaps the FIBA World Cup can elevate his trade stock.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • With Isaiah Thomas landing in Washington, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports examines the Wizards‘ recent history of reclamation projects. Markieff Morris, Brandon Jennings, and Dwight Howard are among the former Wizards players who have joined the franchise with the hope of revitalizing their career.
  • The Raptors are hiring Fabulous Flournoy as an assistant coach, Simon Rushworth of NewCastle-Eagles.com relays. Flournoy is a well-respected coach from the British Basketball League.
  • The Sixers‘ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, has acquired Julian Washburn from the Austin Spurs in exchange for Matt Farrell, according to the team’s website. Washburn has appeared in 18 NBA contests, all of which came last season while he was on a two-way deal with Memphis. If he signs a G League contract for 2019/20, he’d play for Delaware.

Remaining Offseason Questions: Southwest Division

NBA teams have now completed the brunt of their offseason work, with the draft and free agency practically distant memories. Still, with training camps nearly a month away, many clubs around the league have at least one or two outstanding issues they’ve yet to address.

We’re in the midst of looking at all 30 NBA teams, separating them by division and checking in on a key outstanding question that each club still needs to answer before the 2019/20 regular season begins.

After focusing on the Atlantic, Southeast, and Central last week, we headed West and tackled the Northwest on Sunday. Today, we’re moving on to the Southwest. Let’s dive in…

Dallas Mavericks
Will the Mavericks move Courtney Lee‘s expiring contract?

Although the Mavericks had a solid summer, they didn’t make the sort of splash in free agency or on the trade market they might have hoped for. At this point in the offseason, a major roster addition is unlikely, but Dallas could still look to upgrade the squad with a trade involving Lee’s expiring contract.

Lee is earning $12,759,670 in 2019/20. The NBA’s trade rules would allow the Mavs to take back a player making up to $17,759,670 in a straight-up deal for the veteran swingman. Andre Iguodala is said to be one potential target on Dallas’ radar, but the Mavs and Grizzlies haven’t been able to agree on the draft compensation that would be involved in a Lee/Iguodala swap.

There are other players on expiring deals who might make sense as targets for Dallas, including a handful of veterans in Charlotte and Cleveland. The Mavs could also go after a player on a longer-term contract if they find a trade partner looking to create some extra 2020 cap flexibility.

If the Mavs don’t move Lee before the season begins, he’ll likely be involved in trade rumors again before the deadline.

Houston Rockets
How will the Rockets fill out their regular season roster?

No NBA team is currently carrying fewer players on non-guaranteed contracts than the Rockets. Only nine players on Houston’s roster have fully guaranteed salaries for the 2019/20 season. The team is required to carry at least 14 players in the regular season, so that leaves five potential openings on the roster.

Gary Clark and Isaiah Hartenstein are in good position to claim two of those spots. The Rockets have spent some time and energy developing both players, and they each have a partial guarantee worth north of $700K.

Even if we assume Clark and Hartenstein are locks to make the team though, that leaves at least three openings available for the likes of Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier, Shamorie Ponds, William McDowell-White, and perhaps Terrence Jones.

It will be interesting to see whether Houston leans toward keeping veterans like McLemore and Jones or youngsters like Ponds and Clemons. I think the former scenario is more likely, but it also wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the team add a couple more players to the mix to compete for the regular season roster.

Memphis Grizzlies
What will the Grizzlies do with Andre Iguodala?

When the Grizzlies acquired Iguodala from the Warriors two months ago, he was essentially treated as a negative asset due to Golden State’s cap situation — the Dubs had to attach a future first-round pick and cash in order to move him. However, the Grizzlies reportedly believe Iguodala can be moved for positive value.

It would be extremely impressive if Memphis’ new management group could get a second first-round pick by flipping Iguodala, but that doesn’t seem all that realistic unless the team is willing to take on some unfavorable multiyear money.

If the Grizzlies have an offer on the table that would net them a second-round pick and a cheaper expiring contract (Iguodala is on the books for about $17.2MM), they should probably jump on it. It’s hard to imagine them getting better value at this time of year, and if Iguodala doesn’t want to be there, hanging onto him into the season could create some friction.

A buyout remains possible if Memphis doesn’t get any favorable trade offers and the former Finals MVP is willing to give up a chunk of his ’19/20 salary, but it seems as if the club would like to avoid that outcome.

New Orleans Pelicans
How will the Pelicans respond to a potential season-ending injury for Darius Miller?

Less than two months after signing a lucrative new contract to remain in New Orleans, Miller suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon that will likely sideline him for the entire 2019/20 season. It’s a tough blow for both the veteran forward and the Pelicans, who will have to lean even more heavily on newly-acquired J.J. Redick as the club’s primary outside threat.

Now that they’ll be without an important three-point shooter, we’ll see if the Pelicans’ approach to building the back of their roster is affected at all. Kenrich Williams may be more likely to earn one of the final two slots on the 15-man roster, given his potential to stretch the floor (he was a 39.5% three-point shooter in his final college season in 2017/18).

There are still some solid shooters on the free agent market too, if the Pelicans want to go in that direction. A veteran like Jodie Meeks or John Jenkins could be a fit, and it’s worth noting that new head of basketball operations David Griffin has a history with former Cavs guard J.R. Smith, who remains unsigned.

San Antonio Spurs
Will Dejounte Murray or DeMar DeRozan sign contract extensions?

Currently, no one on the Spurs‘ roster has a guaranteed contract beyond 2020/21. That could change this offseason though if the team locks up Murray to a rookie scale extension or DeRozan to a new veteran deal.

Murray looks to me like the stronger candidate for an extension, but an August report indicated that San Antonio hasn’t ruled out the possibility of offering DeRozan a maximum contract extension. The shooting guard would be eligible for a starting salary of up to about $33.3MM for the 2020/21 season, with annual raises increasing the value of the deal from there.

A new contract for Murray wouldn’t be nearly that expensive, and could be an intriguing gamble for the Spurs if the young guard is open to signing at a relatively team-friendly rate. Before he tore his ACL last fall, Murray was viewed as one of the NBA’s prime breakout candidates — San Antonio will be hoping that breakout season was just delayed by a year.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Germany, Italy, Others Finalize World Cup Rosters

We’re just two days away from FIBA’s 2019 World Cup officially tipping off, and more national teams have officially set their 12-man rosters for the event, including a pair of countries whose squads will feature multiple NBA players.

Team Germany made its final cut this week, dropping Wizards youngster Isaac Bonga from its roster. Even without Bonga on the team, there are plenty of familiar faces for NBA fans — Dennis Schroder (Thunder), Daniel Theis (Celtics), and Maxi Kleber (Mavericks) will represent Germany in this year’s tournament.

The Italian national team, meanwhile, will be led by Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari and Spurs sharpshooter Marco Belinelli. Former NBA forward Gigi Datome and 2014 second-round pick Alessandro Gentile are also part of Italy’s squad.

Here are more details on teams that have established their 12-man World Cup rosters:

World Cup Updates: Lithuania, Joseph, Nigeria, France

The Lithuanian national team has announced its roster for the 2019 World Cup, according to Donatas Urbonas, who tweets that the 12-man squad will include Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas and Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis in the frontcourt. Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas is also on the roster.

Lithuania is viewed as a contender to make a deep run in this year’s tournament, but it won’t have an easy path to even make it out of the first round. The Lithuanian national team is part of a group that also includes Australia, Canada, and Senegal — only two of those clubs will advance to the round of 16.

Here’s more on the 2019 World Cup, which will tip off in just four days in China:

Ledbetter Offered Camp Deal

  • The Spurs have offered guard Jeff Ledbetter an Exhibit 10 deal, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando (Twitter link). Ledbetter is interested but is also mulling other options in Europe, Lupo adds. Ledbetter averaged 15.8 PPG in five Las Vegas summer league games for San Antonio. Ledbetter, 31, averaged 13.6 PPG and 3.9 APG in 19 games with the G League’s Austin Spurs last season.
  • The Spurs will retire Tony Parker‘s No. 9 jersey in a November 11 ceremony, according to a team press release. Parker finished his career with the Hornets after playing 17 seasons with San Antonio.

World Cup Notes: Kuzma, Barnes, Belinelli, K. Antetokounmpo

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma helped his bid to earn a World Cup roster spot in Team USA’s exhibition opener, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Playing in front of front of a partisan crowd in Anaheim that chanted for him every time he touched the ball, Kuzma contributed seven points, five rebounds and three assists in Friday’s win over Spain.

Kuzma is considered on the bubble to make the final roster, even after a series of big-name stars pulled out. He says he’s following the orders of coaches Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr, who have asked him to contribute in non-glamorous parts of the game such as defense, rebounding, getting loose balls and making the right decision when the ball is in his hands.

“I’m not one to really grade my performances, but I think my energy was at a high level,” Kuzma said after the game. “That’s the only thing I can really control.”

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Defections of top talent have led to skepticism about whether this version of Team USA can bring home a gold medal, but Harrison Barnes tells Marc Spears of ESPN that the players are using that as motivation. De’Aaron Fox and P.J. Tucker were the latest players to announce that they’re leaving the team“We hear the noise,” Barnes said. “It’s just about the 14 guys that we got here right now, and when we go to Australia (for exhibition games), it’s about just us, getting better, continuing to grow closer on and off the floor, and we’ll go from there.”
  • Italy is adopting a similar attitude about being ranked 11th in the field, relays Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. Spurs guard Marco Belinelli explained the team’s mindset in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve seen it on Instagram and immediately took a screenshot, saving it on my phone”, Belinelli said, “We’re not in the top 10, I’ll keep it as motivation. We have to grow as a team, both on offense and defense, and help each other out on the rebounds.”
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo has been cut from the Greek squad, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The move leaves the team with just two Antetokounmpo brothers, Giannis and Thanasis. It has been an eventful summer for Kostas, who was waived by the Mavericks last month and claimed by the Lakers.

Spurs Sign Forward Daulton Hommes

The Spurs have signed forward Daulton Hommes, according to RealGM’s official transactions log. It’s an Exhibit 10 contract, tweets Andy Buhler of Scorebook Live Washington.

Hommes, 23, averaged 21.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG for Point Loma Nazarene University in his senior campaign in 2018/19. Those efforts earned Hommes NABC Division II National Player of the Year honors.

After going undrafted, Hommes suited up for the Bucks’ Summer League squad. In two games, the 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward notched averages of 8.4 PPG and 1.6 RPG in Las Vegas.

It’s likely that Hommes will spend most of his time with the Spurs’ G League affiliate in Austin.